New This Month

Gingerbread Snowflakes


This seven-inch flake, prettier than a gingerbread house or a gingerbread man, is big enough to share -- but who really wants to?

  • Yield: Makes 16 cookies


  • 6 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for work surface
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
  • 1 cup packed dark-brown sugar
  • 4 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cloves
  • 1 teaspoon finely ground pepper
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup unsulfured molasses
  • Royal Icing
  • Fine sanding sugar, for sprinkling


  1. Sift together flour, baking soda, and baking powder into a large bowl. Set aside.

  2. Put butter and brown sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment; mix on medium speed until fluffy. Mix in spices and salt, then eggs and molasses. Reduce speed to low. Add flour mixture; mix until just combined. Divide dough into thirds; wrap each in plastic. Refrigerate until cold, about 1 hour.

  3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Roll out dough on a lightly floured work surface to a 1/4-inch thick. Cut into snowflakes with a 7- inch snowflake-shape cookie cutter. Space 2 inches apart on baking sheets lined with parchment paper, and refrigerate until firm, about 15 minutes.

  4. Bake cookies until crisp but not dark, 12 to 14 minutes. Let cool on sheets on wire racks.

  5. Put icing in a pastry bag fitted with a small plain round tip (such as Ateco #7). Pipe designs on snowflakes; immediately sprinkle with sanding sugar. Let stand 5 minutes; tap off excess sugar. Let icing set completely at room temperature, about 1 hour.

Cook's Notes

Sanding sugar atop piped royal icing gives it an icy sheen.

Reviews Add a comment

  • heathertho7032089
    24 DEC, 2016
    Spicy and festive, and it's still my favorite. But I don't use 6 cups of flour; 4 is perfect. They'll be too tough otherwise and more suited for ornaments than cookies.
  • MS11133376
    7 DEC, 2016
    Yep, this is a favorite. European friends say "Yes - THIS is gingerbread". It's the pepper - it adds a spicy kick. It can be too spicy for kids, which is why I dip the gingerbread men in white chocolate - just for pants or shoes. If a kid bites a cookie that's too spicy, they can lick off the white chocolate. Then the gingerbread men are naked, but - oh well!
  • stella_centennial
    13 DEC, 2014
    I've been using this recipe for quite a few years. I've also dabbled in other gingerbread recipes each year, but this one remains my favourite. Slight modifications: I sometimes have to use less flour, and I always add a tablespoon of vanilla.
  • HennyMa
    8 DEC, 2014
    This has been my go-to gingerbread cookie recipe for years. It is pleasantly spicy, but mild enough for a picky child to enjoy. The royal icing with lemon is a must, as the sweet lemon flavor perfectly sets off the spices in the cookies. The cookies come out hard and have a great "snap" to them when you bite in. They store really well and are not fragile -- excellent for gifting. This recipe makes a really big batch -- enough for several plates to share and one to keep for yourself!
  • princess_44
    5 DEC, 2014
    Hi, I need help. Can someone guide me as to which royal icing recipe should I use for this gingerbread? I am new to baking and not sure which royal icing recipe to use. Thanks.
  • Emilee
    7 OCT, 2014
    I have made this gingerbread recipe every year for at least 5 years. I double the batch and generally get 80-100 cookies. (The snowflake cutter they used for this must be HUGE.) I cannot tell you how many people have told me that they're not only the best gingerbread they've ever tasted, but maybe their favorite cookies of all time. I also use the royal icing recipe recommended. They turn out beautiful and delicious every time. I call these "my gingerbread cookies," but all props to Martha.
  • RAJ
    16 DEC, 2013
    You might try adding 1-1.5 cup flour MORE and refrigerate overnight
  • LCodog
    15 DEC, 2013
    I used the recipe from the MS Cookies book; but the dough is VERY soft and unmanageable. There is a discrepancy between the book and the online recipe. The book calls for 5.5 cups ap flour and 1.5 cups molasses. Does anyone have any suggestions to save the dough?!
  • skytalon
    1 DEC, 2013
    Wonderful recipe! Been using this recipe for christmas gifts for the last 3 years. I usually make these 1 to 3 weeks in advance. After cooling, I packed up in wax papers (3 per fold) and stuffed in a ziplock and put in the freezer. I use a 3.5 " or 4" gingerbread man cookie cutter, so it yields over 50 cookies, I believe. Also after you cut it and put on cookie sheet, refrigerate about 10 to 15 minutes so they will keep the shape.
  • oldie93
    27 JUN, 2013
    They look just like real snowflakes. I'm pretty sure, although I do live in Florida.